Diageo opens $110m facility for RTD expansion

Smirnoff owner Diageo has opened a US$110 million manufacturing site in Illinois, US, to help accelerate the firm’s ready-to-drink portfolio.

Plans for the new Diageo Lincolnway facility in Plainfield, Illinois, were revealed in March 2021, and included the build of two high-speed can lines.

The new 225,000-square-foot facility supplements the company’s existing ready-to-drink (RTD) production across North America.

Diageo said it had invested approximately US$110m in the new facility, which will allow the firm to accelerate its growth strategy in the convenience category.

“The new canning facility will enhance Diageo’s existing operations, strengthening our offering and accelerating our strategy in the ready-to-drink category,” said Keara Funck, convenience, vice-president, Diageo North America. 

“As we continue to build on this opportunity in the convenience space to deliver premium delicious bar-quality cocktails and malt-based beverages, we are excited about the innovations and possibilities this could bring to our consumers.”

Diageo Lincolnway has the capacity to produce more than 25m cases of spirit- and malt-based RTD cocktails.

The new site is now producing some of Diageo’s RTD products, including Smirnoff Seltzers, and spirits-based RTD cocktails from Canadian whisky Crown Royal and Ketel One vodka’s Botanical line.

Diageo Lincolnway was built in “record time”, according to Michael L Nelson Jr, manufacturing and distillation, senior vice-president, Diageo North America. It employs 50 full-time members.

Diageo has a 56-year history with the village of Plainfield, which it said has expanded over the years.

The Smirnoff owner has operated its Plainfield bottling site since 1966, which together with the warehouse employs more than 600 people.

“The new facility strengthens our manufacturing footprint in the region and allows us to leverage synergies with our warehouse and bottling operation in Plainfield,” Nelson Jr added.

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Author: Nicola Carruthers